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Coverage of Private Pension Systems: Evidence and Policy Options

Listed author(s):
  • Pablo Antolin
  • Stéphanie Payet


  • Juan Yermo

To adapt pension systems to demographic trends, many countries are reducing pay-as-you-go public pension levels and lifting retirement ages. In this context, funded pensions could play a major role to avoid adequacy gaps. Yet, as this paper shows, the coverage of funded private pensions, as measured by enrolment rates, is highly uneven across countries and between individuals, especially in voluntary systems. Some countries have made funded pensions compulsory (e.g. Australia, Chile) or quasimandatory (e.g. Denmark, the Netherlands) to ensure that most workers are covered and therefore have access to a sufficiently high complementary pension. However, in other countries with relatively low pay-as-you-go public pension benefits, funded private provision remains voluntary. The low level of funded pensions’ coverage in such countries should be a major policy concern. Recent policy initiatives in Germany and New Zealand, involving the introduction of financial incentives (and auto enrolment in New Zealand) have been effective in raising coverage to the highest levels among voluntary pension arrangements, but coverage gaps remain that need to be addressed. Couverture des systèmes de pensions privées : preuve et options politiques Pour adapter les systèmes de retraite aux tendances démographiques, de nombreux pays réduisent les niveaux des retraites publiques par répartition et relèvent les âges de départ à la retraite. Dans ce contexte, les retraites par capitalisation pourraient jouer un rôle majeur pour éviter des écarts d’adéquation. Toutefois, comme le montre ce document, la couverture des pensions privées par capitalisation, telle que mesurée par les taux d’adhésion, est fortement inégale entre les pays et entre les individus, en particulier dans les systèmes volontaires. Certains pays ont rendu les pensions par capitalisation obligatoires (par ex. l’Australie, le Chile)ou quasi-obligatoires (par ex. le Danemark, les Pays-Bas) pour s’assurer que la plupart des travailleurs sont couverts et ont ainsi accès à une retraite complémentaire suffisamment élevée. En revanche, dans d’autres pays, où les prestations des retraites publiques par répartition sont relativement faibles, l’offre privée par capitalisation reste volontaire. La faible couverture des pensions par capitalisation dans ces pays devrait être un souci politique majeur. De récentes initiatives politiques en Allemagne et en Nouvelle-Zélande, impliquant l’introduction d’incitations financières (et l’adhésion automatique en Nouvelle-Zélande), ont été efficace à augmenter la couverture parmi les plus hauts niveaux au sein des dispositifs de retraites volontaires, mais des écarts de couverture demeurent et doivent être abordés.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions with number 20.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
Handle: RePEc:oec:dafaad:20-en
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